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ASRock Fatal1ty Z97M Killer LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: This thing is great. It offers many of the best features of the X99 boards (I'm coming from socket 775 so everything is an upgrade for me), and at a MUCH better price. Here are some of the best parts

-Realtek ALC1150 is AWESOME. This is what sets it apart from ASRock's other z97 boards, who have older/less robust chips such as the 892. It really does sound much better, I'm not going to bore you with a description but it is much more capable and worth spending $10-$20 more for (but in this case, it costs less to upgrade!)

-5 fan headers. Wow, it's surprising how many low cost boards skimp on the fans. This board has 5 including the CPU fan. It has 2 at the top of the board, 2 above the top PCI express slot, and 1 at the bottom right.

-This board requires minimal driver installation to start working (on windows 8, at least). All you really need is INF, audio, and ethernet (and video if you dont have a card) and you are basically good to go.

-I like how ASRock warns you that the UEFI bios boots so fast, you may not be able to get into it. Fortunately they include a utility that lets you reboot straight to the bios, and in the bios you can also set a time delay for bootup. I have it set to 2 seconds which seems good enough, but the default is 1 second which is too short for my monitor to work with.

Cons: There were a few issues I encountered, but I have figured them all out.

1. When I first set up my system, the board refused to output any video until I removed my video card. Turns out there was a bios setting for iGPU multi-monitor setting that you HAVE to enable to use a graphics card. This was a major headache because it involved a lot of trial and error.

2. It was a bit tricky getting my Displayport monitor to fire up. For some reason, connecting it via HDMI then switching inputs to Displayport fixed it.

3. Killer E2200 is a pile of garbage. Or rather, their driver package is. Fortunately, I learned from a few forum posts by smart people that it is basically equal to a Qualcomm Atheros AR8161, and the drivers for it work well. All I had to do was manually select it from Windows 8's driver repository (Have Disk and all that), and it started working beautifully without all the nasty Killer software.

4. SATA ports right under the graphics card. I was a bit unhappy with this, I had much better luck with my old motherboard's vertically oriented ports. Wasn't a dealbreaker but it was a bit sad. I should mention that the Sata Express takes out 2 sata ports if you use it, same with the M.2 slot.

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TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter, 300Mbps, w/WPS Button, IEEE 802.1b/g/n, 64/128 bit WEP, WPA/WPA2
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: -Seems to hold network very stable
-Drivers easily accessible on company website
-Easy to install
-Appears to be of good build quality overall
-Good pricing

Cons: -Can't seem to get above 144.4 Mbps sitting right next to a (relatively) new dual channel Linksys router, wonder why it isn't using the 2nd channel.

Other Thoughts: Overall it's been great so far.

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Acer K272HULbmiidp Black 27
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: -Panel is of good quality, came with no dead pixels and has very little if any bleed.
-Using the "Warm" preset is the best way to get close to proper color calibration for this monitor, without special hardware. Colors are nice to the eyes, nothing feels amiss.
-Matte screen coating helps with glare somewhat, unfortunately not as well as my old screen but I traded it for better color quality.
-Real buttons, I was getting sick of my old Acer's touch activated buttons.
-Same aspect ratio as 1080p so you can still watch 1080p movies in fullscreen without black bars.

Cons: -Speakers started making a hissing noise, had to figure out how to turn the volume down to 0 to make them stop. Thought it was the monitor itself making the noise.
-Large, round stand feels too big for the monitor, and is too tall to put a keyboard over. It comes almost an inch off the desk, and looks a bit odd.
-The stand also has a channel design cut into the front, making it very difficult to clean but also doesn't look quite as bad when it's dirty as a flat surface would.
-Shiny black plastic everywhere. Yep, that's never going to be clean ever again. As with almost all other shiny black plastic, it scratches just by swiping a clean cloth or finger across it. I desperately wish this monitor was made with matte black plastic.

Other Thoughts: This monitor is a great deal for $400... I wouldn't pay $500 for it unless you really needed the extra screen space. Displayport cable included is barely long enough to reach from the top of my desk to the bottom side (its only about 3'), so plan on getting a new one if you buy this monitor.

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Devin O.'s Profile

Display Name: Devin O.

Date Joined: 05/23/09

  • Reviews: 49
  • Helpfulness: 27
  • First Review: 05/28/09
  • Last Review: 01/06/15
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